7 things for Saturday (10.12)

1. Got stuck yesterday behind a truck with this bumper sticker: “Just ’cause it’s smokin’ doesn’t mean it’s broken.” This fails both rhythmically and as an attempt at redneck vernacular. It ought to read “Just ’cause it’s smokin’ don’t mean it’s broken.” That balances out the meter and, to my ear, better evokes the Joe six-pack vibe intended by the slogan. I suppose the composer of this bumper sticker may have been attracted to the assonant echo of ’cause it’s and doesn’t, but then to make the meter scan it would need to be because, rather than ’cause, further damaging the redneck authenticity of the slogan. (I’d also substitute ‘cuz for ’cause, but that’s a lesser concern.)

And people said my English major would never be useful.

The social pages say he’s got the biggest balls of all.

2. So on September 30, I flagged this story: “Obama tells Rouhani he’s concerned about jailed U.S. pastor Saeed Abedini.” I noted that this very public story about a public act by President Obama would likely not prevent the liars for Jesus of the religious right from lying and saying it never happened. That took less than two weeks. Here’s Fox News commentator and “religious” “conservative” Todd Starnes speaking at the “Values” Voter Summit: “Our President, who travels across the globe apologizing for the United States of America, yet he cannot utter the words ‘Saeed Abedini’ from his lips. … What is our President doing about it? Why isn’t he picking up the phone, talking to his new BFF, the Iranian president?”

Lying is the religious right’s native language. They lie about everything. Lying is what they do. Lying is what they are.

3. Two Friars and a Fool discuss “3 doctrines that never should have been invented,” nominating inerrancy, complementarianism, and the belief in Hell as a place of eternal, conscious torment. Can’t argue with any of those nominees — they’re all wrong, biblically indefensible and contradicted by reality. OK, then.

4. Defeating the Dragons: “ordeal of the bitter waters, part three.”

5. In progressive Christian congregations, no one cares about petty squabbles over the color of the carpet. Petty squabbles over the Oxford comma, however, are a different matter.

6. Ari Kohen, a connoisseur of public apologies, considers the apology from Hobby Lobby over the craft chain’s not carrying Hannukah materials because — as one Hobby Lobby worker said — “We don’t cater to you people.”

Hobby Lobby does want your money, Jews; now that management is aware that you want to buy things that pertain to your holidays rather than their holidays, they’re considering stocking some of those things in their stores … since they currently do not (which was the initial complaint, if memory serves me). Also, they’re going to direct their employees not to refer to Jews as “you people” in the future (as in, “We don’t cater to you people”) because that seems to discourage shoppers.

7. National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” aired an excellent story yesterday on how the “Shutdown Leaves Some Seniors Worried About Their Next Meal.” The main focus is on how the shutdown has derailed the USDA’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program — a lifeline for many Americans over age 60 who have an income of less than $15,000 a year. The report also noted another reason that “No, private charity can’t handle it alone,” which is that a great deal of “private” charity depends on government assistance. The USDA doesn’t just provide surplus food directly to poor seniors, it also supplies a lot of the food in your local food pantry:

“I could point [out] to you which food is from the government,” says Waverly Knight, assistant director at the Northwest Food Pantry in Grand Rapids.

“We get all of our meat from the government,” she says. Or rather, they did. “Hopefully,” Knight says, “that will come back.”

Aid officials say that nearly one-quarter of USDA’s surplus food trickles down to local pantries. For Knight, that makes up one-half to three-quarters of her inventory. Losing that surplus means it’s slimmer pickings for the families who come here to fill their stomachs.


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